From Amity Farm...

Goat Whisperer

There is a difference between “breaking” an animal and gaining the trust of an animal. I prefer to do the latter whenever possible.

Yes, I have become quite a good little goat whisperer in the past couple of months. Once they started getting apple slices and grass cubes every night, they have been much better little goaties. I talk to them and scritch their cute fuzzy chins while they beg and beg for treats. First sweet Miss Dulce was brave enough, then the little piggy Rico, then the lovely Lola. From eating from my hand to being comfortable in the same stall that is how they go.

There is only one little problem with letting them go at their pace. And it has to do with Rico’s… um… male-style development. It turns out male goats (called bucks) are nasty little creatures, ESPECIALLY when they are left wild. He has started to get his signature goat odor (smells like really bad B.O. funk) but hasn’t started peeing all over himself or nailing the girls, so there is still time to get him “fixed”. Farmers always have a code name for what everything really is, so even though he is being castrated, we call it whethering. Don’t ask me why, I wasn’t in the FFA.

Before the vet can come out and perform the procedure Rico and the rest need to be tamed. Over the weekend, mom and I hooked up a very Goonies-esque trap for their stall. We tied rope, there were eye bolts and power tools… very impressive. The goats watched us while we worked and were incredibly suspicious of the barn all week. They barely came in the stall at all when I was there, and all three were NEVER in there together. But this morning, they let their guard down. While they were all in there eating, I went outside and pulled the rope taught. The gate slammed behind them and we ALL almost had a heart attack.

Lola started jumping up and down, bouncing off the wall. Rico and Dulce were running around in circles. After a minute they just stopped and stood there trembling. I felt like such an evil monster but I knew they would calm down if I just left. When I came home tonight, there they were. Quiet and hungry. Like nothing had happened. We talked and snacked on apples for a while before lights out. It is an interesting thing being guardian for all these different types of creatures. They are so much more emotional and social than I ever would have guessed. Tonight, Lola even pulled her face up to mine and gave me a good sniff. We have a couple of weeks before the vet comes out and armed with instructions from the 4-H guy, I think we’ll make it.

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